Sales experts rabbit on about trade

Agents Sally Burnal, Mike Rignall, Amanda Tremlett, Paul McGoogan and Kenny MacLeod reveal all

 

A fluffle of UK greeting card sales agents is a great way to mark the Chinese Year Of The Rabbit, as they show the vigilance, wit, quick-mindedness, and ingenuity characteristics of those born in rabbit years.

So, PG dangled a carrot in front of the fluffle – which really is the term for a group of rabbits – to find out the Watership Downs of the last year as well as their hop(e)s for 2023 from this hare-raising bunch.

In the final rabbitings of the series, we hear from Sally Burnal, Mike Rignall, Amanda Tremlett, Paul McGoogan and Kenny MacLeod

Above: Sally Bernal highlights the mini budget as one of the 2022 hare raisers
Above: Sally Bernal highlights the mini budget as one of the 2022 hare raisers

Sally Bernal’s patch covers the London area

Her dangling carrots?

2toTango, Canns Down Press, Green Pebble, Lottie Simpson, Maxmademedoit, Paper Bird, Pomegranate, Rosie Made A Thing, and Susan O’Hanlon.

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“Last year was OK, but varied greatly – some months were good and others less so. I guessed it would be erratic given the shenanigans in government, ensuing uncertainty and general problems throughout the world.”

Watership Downs and hare-raisers of 2022?

“My main down of the last year is the fact that I’ve lost some dear customers to email. Most customers do still want to see an agent and I really try to make the buying process as quick and easy for them as possible to make it more appealing to them than ordering online in the evening. Ordering online or via email works brilliantly for some customers but it’s always good to show new stock and make recommendations. Having said that it is great to receive an email with a lovely order.

Above: Rosie Made A Thing, which Sally represents in London, got in early to alert customers to the vagaries the postal strikes would cause
Above: Rosie Made A Thing, which Sally represents in London, got in early to alert customers to the vagaries the postal strikes would cause

“I suppose the most hare-raising moment would have been around the unbelievable mini budget, I could sense the nervousness. Oh, and my new car got smashed up at 3am in a police chase when it was parked outside!”

Sally’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“I hope to make more money! January has started with a very full diary and the general response to Christmas is that it was mainly surprisingly good.

“I would love to get some new customers on board while I also hope to reconnect with some customers I haven’t seen for a while.”

Rabbit alter ego?

“I’d like to say Jessica Rabbit but, more realistically, it should be the White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland who’s always worried about being late.”

Above: Mike Rignall (back row, third left) being a happy bunny, singing his heart out
Above: Mike Rignall (back row, third left) being a happy bunny, singing his heart out

Mike Rignall’s patch spans Yorkshire, north Lincolnshire, Durham, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

His dangling carrots?

Belly Button Designs, Glick, Hearts Designs, Janie Wilson, Oli Olsen, Stop The Clock Designs, Think Of Me and Wendy Jones-Blackett.

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“I was a happy bunny that 2022 was a path back to normality. I’m very lucky to have some fantastic companies to represent, many of whom for over 20 years, and they continued to create some amazing products which my customers have bought into.”

Above and top: Mike Rignall could be a modern-day Jive Bunny
Above and top: Mike Rignall could be a modern-day Jive Bunny

Mike’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“I’m concerned by how the postal strikes have affected card sales, I hope these hop away as they have affected so many small independent business.”

Rabbit alter ego?

“As a chorister, I would have to be an ecclesial version of Jive Bunny, who was also from Yorkshire!”

Above: Amanda Tremlett sees herself as an Earth Rabbit
Above: Amanda Tremlett sees herself as an Earth Rabbit

Amanda Tremlett’s patch covers the South East, including the Isle Of Wight and Channel Islands

Her dangling carrots?

Lucilla Lavender, Paperlink, Paper Rose, Grass Roots, The Unique Paper Company, Scentiment Gifts, Paper Shed Designs and Love Country By Sarah Reilly, plus a few other smaller publishers.”

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“It was only my second year in as an agent having previously always being employed as a rep and, I have to say, I was an extremely happy bunny at how it turned out considering the lop-sided year it turned out to be. My trip down the rabbit hole took me on a wonderful journey and allowed me to grow and develop my business.”

Above: Just four of the publishers Amanda represents
Above: Just four of the publishers Amanda represents

Watership Downs and hare-raisers of 2022?

“The downs were the postal strikes which have caused such a damaging impact during the busiest part of the year for the card industry, and the sad passing of our dear Queen who was a true inspiration right to the very end. Then there’s the war in Ukraine and the fleeing of their doomed warrens and all the dangers they face.

“The exciting and hare-raising part for me was taking on Paperlink during the month of the Easter Bunny event – a fabulous company which has had me hopping, skipping and jumping all over Kent and East Sussex.”

Amanda’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“Peace and prosperity – let’s buck the trend and become a hoppy breed during 2023.”

Rabbit alter ego?

“In Chinese terms I see myself as an Earth Rabbit – frank, straightforward, ambitious, hardworking, but slightly reserved.”

Paul McGoogan and Kenny MacLeod, who trade as Agents In Partnership, have a patch that covers Scotland and the Lake District 

Above: Paul McGoogan (left) and Kenny MacLeod
Above: Paul McGoogan (left) and Kenny MacLeod

Their dangling carrots?

Bomb Cosmetics, Carte Blanche Greetings, Glick, IC&G and Nigel Quiney Publications.

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“We actually had a very good year with all our principals, plus we picked up a new principal mid-year which opened several new doors, took us down many rabbit holes, and created lots of new opportunities for existing principals!

“The only thing that made us slightly unhappy bunnies was that Christmas 22 returns seem to be a bit higher than usual, but not enough to get Watership down about!

“When we Googled rabbit traits, it details that they’re ‘very intelligent and active animals’ and that’s us! Rabbits are also known for having almost panoramic eyes, and are masters of hearing, which are probably the two most important traits of a good salesman!”

Paul and Kenny’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“Our best year is dangling in front of our eyes, we just need to continue with our heads down and fluffy tail up, working as hard as we always have done.

“Our wider hopes are for the independents to continue to grow and be supported by the public, who, it seems, are no longer hibernating at home and buying online but are venturing out on to the High Street again.”

And Paul added: “On a personal front, I plan to attend a small Scottish festival in July. It’s a family event of about 10,000 visitors and, once again, I’ve volunteered to be the Beat The Goalkeeper at the children’s tent – coincidentally it’s called Doune The Rabbit Hole!”

Above: Paul McGoogan is looking forward to his Doune The Rabbit Hole challenge
Above: Paul McGoogan is looking forward to his Doune The Rabbit Hole challenge

Rabbit alter ego?

“A single bunny is a lonely bunny, so it’s great to be a working couple. Given the fact that we’ve been business partners in one guise or another for over 25 years, we’re probably now like an old couple. The fact that we’re still on the road five days a week, I guess you could call us Mr and Mr Energizer Bunny!”

Above: Paul’s and Kenny’s rabbit alter ego
Above: Paul’s and Kenny’s rabbit alter ego

These agents’ views also appeared in the February edition of Progressive Greetings magazine which can be read online here, or you can subscribe here to receive the magazine by post each month.

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